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99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Not Rated.
99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
BA SCORE
88
very good

14 Ratings
Ratings: 14
Reviews: 11
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.29%
Taps: 46
Bottles: 125
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

110 Walnut Avenue
Santa Cruz, California, 95060
United States
phone: (831) 459-9999

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 14 | Reviews: 11 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GoodLivin
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of LaneMeyer
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Atmosphere kinda blows, unless you like frat house style food and company. But the beer list is pretty good. Nothing mind-blowing but solid offerings. Good for a quick stop. And they have outside seating if you want to avoid the shenanigans inside.

Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of kingbobo
4/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of bouncepass
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75

While 99 Bottles has been around for decades, it has been under new ownership since around late 2012 or early 2013. The new owners have really stepped up their beer list. Where before it was somewhat boring, it's now very solid. They'll consistently have 831 IPA from Sante Adairius, and a number of beers on tap from Northern California breweries. At the same time, 515 and Red have both focused less on their beer program so I'd say 99 Bottles is now the best place downtown to drink beer, both for its very large selection and having a number of high quality options (like maybe a dozen west coast IPAs/DIPAs on tap).

Food is serviceable as long as you stay basic, like burgers (I like the one with green chile and guacamole) or potato skins.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

This is a decent enough place and of the 4 Santa Cruz beer spots I visited, this was the second best.

Draft list seemed to be about 40 strong with another 60 or so bottles. Selection was really good, including a good variety of all styles and a few more interesting beers. If you want the really good stuff, or the rarer brews, burger is the better bet but 99 Beers still holds its own. They had Bois on tap while I was there and that was about the only really interesting/rare beer that they had.

Atmosphere isn't great. A bit dirty and run down but still ok for what it is.

Photo of Billolick
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

OK, they have a lot of beer here..99 selections apparently, a ton of taps, a mess of bottles, informative beer menu provides a heap of info on the selections and about beer in general. Food tends towards your typical burgers and fries and the staff seemed to be friendly enough.

Somehow I just got a “run of the mill” beer place feeling here. Lots of selections, but just about everything would fall into the pretty widely available category. Same with the food…been there, done that…

They were crowded, so the formula seems to be working for them.

Don’t go looking for anything that pushes the envelop beer, food or atmosphere wise, do go for a large and serviceable selection, a reliable burger, the game on the tube, comfortable mid sized joint with well worn tables and low brow ambitions…

Photo of DoubleJ
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Right in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz is the song about bottles of beer. As the name suggests, this place offers 99 different beers*. 40 of them are on-tap, the rest are offered in the bottle. They have offerings on-tap from Anderson Valley, Stone, Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, Speakeasy, Bear Republic, North Coast, New Belgium, Anchor, Deschutes, Spaten. The bottle selection is a little "geekier", with Orval, Delirium, Tripel Karmeliet, Unibroue, Celebrator, Weihenstephaner, Alaskan, Samuel Smith's. What's that "mystery beer" on the menu? find out for yourself! Saw some extra glassware hanging out in one section....glad to see some of that.

This would be a good place for anyone to grab a beer, and it holds some geek appeal. Recommended.

*A handful of the beers are actually ciders.

Photo of RunDWP
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I've heard enough about this Santa Cruz institution that it was time I gave it a visit. The interior and atmosphere could bascially one of millions of brew pubs. Standard wooden tables and chairs, a wrap-around bar in front, with brick walls. There is actually 99 bottles on one of the walls (we actually counted) and if you drink 99 different beers, they put this little plaque on the wall. It was a busy day with the Tour of California bike race ending a few blocks away about an hour ago, and the staff was a little overwhelmed. We'd have to ask for things like water twice, or they'd leave four napkins for five of us. Little annoying things like that.

Yes, they have 99 different brews available, and most of them I would enjoy. Most of them I've had, or wouldn't have too much trouble finding anywhere else. It's a good place to gain exposure to a lot of beers, or introduce your friends to sound good micros, but if you're looking for some usual, unique, or hard to find brew, I doubt you are going to find it here.

Food was a standard brew pub faire, and they did a good job of it, at a reasonable price. I'll be back.

Photo of illidurit
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

I've been here a million times so I might as well review it.

This is a rather typical gastropub with a largish but unimpressive beer selection. Lots of widely available micros make this a quantity-not-quality place that someone new to craft beer can cut his/her teeth on. Unfortunately, for the experienced beer connoisseur, it gets old fast. The beer list has extremely low turnover, the food is fairly standard pub grub, the service is good but not great, prices are typical. They do have fun events like trivia night on Wednesdays and I think karaoke on another night. Unless you really like trivia or want a plaque on the wall (for sampling all 99 beers), there's no real reason to pick 99 Bottles over 515 Kitchen and Cocktails or The Red Restaurant and Lounge, which are both less than 3 blocks away and boast wonderfully eclectic beer lists.

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Cool place. First started going here during the summer of '92. The staff at that time were terrific. Knowledgeable friendly and helpful. The goal of drinking 99 different beers they serve and getting a small personalized placard on the wall was a nice incentive to keep stopping by and keep drinking new beers. I made it on the wall by the end of the summer. Great beer selection then and above average now. They have something like 30 to 40 beers on tap. The food is pretty good pub grub. Location is awesome being right there at Pacific Garden Mall.

Photo of John_M
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Much like Santa Cruz itself, I seem to find less and less reason to visit this place whenever I'm in town. Located just off the Pacific Garden Mall in downtown Santa Cruz...

The atmosphere of this place is nothing special, looking like a moderate sized cafe with a large wrap around bar area straight in front of you as you walk in the door. For some reason they have a low brick partition dividing the bar area from much of the dining room off to the right, but whatever.

I always sit at the bar when I stop in, and as I'm usually here during off hours (afternoons during the week), service has always been just fine. Most of the time the bartender has not been exceptionally knowledgable, but the beer menu is a pretty good guide for what they generally have on tap, and what the various beers are like. Not that much guidance is required, as I generally find the selection here to be pretty pedestrian. I can't remember the last time I came in here and actually saw something on the menu I hadn't tried before. There is a good size selection of beer here, and so I can usually find something tolerable to drink. They also offer a sampler selection, but they've never had enough interesting beers available for me to want to take advantage of it.

There's nothing wrong with this place, but much like Seabright Brewpub, it's just not a place I look forward to visiting any more. So unless you have to have a beer and nothing else, you would be much better off getting margartitas over at Tampicos just down the street (on Pacific - excellent tequila selection and wonderful ritas), or visiting one of the many outstanding wine bars in town (Pearl Alley Bistro, Avanti and Soif right across the street from 99 bottles, to name just a few).

Photo of Goldorak
2.83/5  rDev -25.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Santa Cruz was one of the first stops we made going down route 1 from San Francisco. Our hotel was quite a long ways away from the ocean, but we decided to walk it anyway, as if climbing up and down the hills in Frisco and through rows and rows of vineyards in Sonoma/Napa wasn’t enough. The part of SC we walked through look a little worn down, but still had a bit of coastal charm left in it. The boardwalk was a huge disappointment, everything was closed but the snack bar that served us a horrible and overpriced starchy condensed soup and day-old corndog. I begged Mel to keep going and eat somewhere else but when she’s too hungry there’s no reasoning with her. The deserted amusement park panorama looked kind of sad and gray, and even though it was nice and sunny, it seemed to weigh like a dark cloud over the beach. The only sound you could hear was the annoying canned laughter of some mechanical gypsy and the beeps and buzzes of arcade games begging you to feed them quarters. The pier was almost as desolate, but at least we had the throngs of sea lions lounging on the beams beneath us to ourselves. Another brisk walk and we finally got to 99 bottles in the downtown section, it’s off a main street drag where tattooed kids were skateboarding or just hanging out, making jackasses of themselves.

99 bottles looked like a typical resto-bar you can find everywhere, with red brick, brass and wood, a few tables in front of the door for smokers, we sat in a booth in order to read the limericks from some of patrons who got their name on the wall of Beer. A lot of them were pretty funny, like “I still like Bud the most”, “I only came here for one Beer” or “My wife is so proud of me”. One of those guys apparently made it 50 times, so he had a special plaque above everyone else’s. I think his said “time to hit the exercycle” or something.

Checking out the menu, they indeed had 99 Beers, a lot of brews you can easily find or I’ve had a bunch of times before, especially the bottled selection that was filled with crappy imports, so I stuck to draft pints. Some local rep, nothing that made me go “Wow, I’m glad we came here”. Maybe I happened to be there on a bad week. And they were out of my first two choices.

Our waitress was a little slow, but I won’t hold it against her, she was like 8 months pregnant, walking around all wobbly. I almost told her to take my seat and relax a bit, I’ll go get my own Beer. The worst thing was that my girlfriend’s pint of ace cider had a ton of crap floating around in it, it looked like more like orange juice with extra pulp, so we made her take it back and bring another. I almost did the same with my pint, it tasted pretty stale, and so did my following one.

Food was passable at best, my pulled pork sandwich didn’t exactly rock my world, Minou’s ravioli plate was gargantuan, the tomato-based sauce was a little bland but for bar food I’ve seen worse.

We probably would have had a better time sitting at the bar and getting a feel for some of the locals, so it’s difficult to judge atmosphere correctly. But from the vibe I got, it felt like a locals’ bar with some effort made to have decent Beer, although from the lack of freshness of my pints, maybe that “I still like Bud the most” inscription seems to sum up the general consensus here. Meh.

Photo of bradybeer
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I finally had a chance to stop in and check this place out and I was glad that I made the effort.

The location is in downtown Santa Cruz right off Pacific Ave next to the free parking area-convenient? Certainly. Walking in the bar is to the left with the dinning area to the right.

I grabbed a stool and looked over the beer menu. On tap were several NorCal offerings from Lagunitas, SN, North Coast, Anderson Valley, and a tap from Gordon Biersch, Mad River, and Firestone. They also had two Kona taps and one Waimea. There was also other U.S micro and better quality euro brews.

The beer menu stated that you could buy either 3 tasters (about $4) or 5 tasters ($7.50) (no single tasters are sold).

When faced with so many choices I did what a BA had to do-I went for the 5.

Kona Pale
Kone Lager
Humboldt Hemp
Gordon Beirsch
Red Seal Ale.

Enjoyed them all with the Kona Pale the stand out.

Service was excellent-the bar keep warned me away from a sour stout-so kudos for that.

I didn’t eat so I can’t say the food was good or not.

A great place to come for pints (all about $4) and the many specials they have through out the week.

This is now my hangout.

Bottoms up

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall in Santa Cruz, CA
88 out of 100 based on 14 ratings.